I know I gave myself a challenge. A post a day the entire month of May. I have my ears open for topics that shift perceptions, ideas that inspire change in attitudes, kill off old habits and upend outmoded thinking. My intention is to celebrate change, inciting motivation in myself. An act of doing rather than dreaming. But I have already hit a wall. Becoming paralyzed with the reality that I may be nuts and may never achieve my dreams. At some point, I wont be unencumbered with all this time to nurture ideas. Trust me, I am soaking in every minute. Walks, daily meditation, reading, movie watching, writing fiction, writing a blog, slight networking, making healthy meals, photography, volunteering at school, journaling and napping too. I should feel better right!?! Isn’t the Universe supposed to drop some profound gift, open a pathway, guide me to a new bright future. All my wounds will be mere scars. My failures will transform into a triumphant success. Seems ridiculous to even think this way. Maybe its a load crap? The Ophrahization of the society. Just follow your bliss the world will be yours. Nonsense. This is some serious work!
And now, today I feel stuck. So I tortured myself reading an article about a fancy pants writer girl, she is 44 but looks 30 with amazing flowing hair standing in front of a vintage Galaxie 500, a mother, a wife, a talented writer. Her home is my distant, not-possible fantasy, “a two-story American Craftsman house…austerely decorated with vintage furniture and an eclectic mix of art, including a painting of a self-possessed woman in an evening dress by the Social Realist artist Isaac Soyer that once hung in her grandparents’ Long Island home.” Rachel Kushner is her name and I even want to read her book, The Flamethrowers. I’m not jealous, just in awe of her success. She started UC Berkeley at 16. Then an MFA at Columbia. She was the oldest at 29. TWENTY-NINE! See, what am I thinking? I will be in my mid-forties, if I can even get into a program. Reading about her, makes my dreams– a published novel (notice I didn’t say “highly acclaimed” but I am lying if I said that wasn’t important) a nice house, degrees, confidence to finish and get noticed–seem fit for another person’s life.
They feel out of reach today. The monsters of doubt are always within, lurking to take center stage. Some days, I believe what they say. Taunting me in my dreams. How in the world will you ever write a novel? You just started in earnest at this age. Time has passed and you’ve lost your chance. You’ve squandered it away partying in San Francisco. Your talent is limited and your dreams don’t match reality. GET. OVER. IT. This ain’t gonna happen. Successful writers work very hard. They are highly trained. Their teachers are Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Egan. They get mentored and advised. They get invited to Iowa to write in retreats. You can’t just write on your own without help.
It tells me. Be prepared for life in a cubicle. It’s calling.
I might be going at this all wrong. Maybe I need to accept reality as it had been. There was nothing wrong with my life until now, I just had an attitude problem. I need to get over myself and put my big girl pants on and join the race. The sidelines are for spectators and losers.
I don’t know if this too Oprah or not but: the past happens and it means something but the only thing you can do now is take the next step towards the future. One of my dreams is to compete in the Tour de France. I’m 44. It won’t happen but it keeps me taking steps to be healthy. Your goals/wishes, realistic or not, can help you move to a better place. If you reach the goal, great! If you don’t, you’re still better off than not trying. If you actually fail, then try the next route to be better and be satisfied that the last route didn’t work.
Oprah mode ended. It’s simple but it’s not easy. The next small tiny little step? Not so hard.
Its not easy. It takes a lot of patience and real hard work. I think what bothers me is how easily people throw this follow your dreams advice. It may not be practical for everyone. That is what is hard to swallow. Yeah the past is the past, I just wish I did a better job of things. Ugh. I know this regretting is not good but its also real. Thanks for replying! I hope you ride your bike though?
You’re right about practicality. For me, certain hopeless dreams help. For others, maybe you, they may hurt.
The follow your dreams advice is simplistic. Yup. Better is follow your dreams in a way that works for YOU.
I know. I am also just being down on myself today. Somehow I will keep working on my dream to write. Siigh.